My sister was given an assignment in one of her college classes to spend five days eating for $5 a day. Just thinking about that assignment makes me feel instantly hungry! The average order at McDonalds’ costs $4.75. Remember my sister’s assignment; she would have spent almost all of her allotted money and eaten only one meal. Most people eat three times a day. I personally eat around six times a day. So how do kids our age make sure they will have three square meals that they can afford? The “Shared Table Bill” will help make this happen.
The West Virginia Legislature passed the “Shared Table Bill” last week. This new bill gives schools the freedom to provide reusable leftover food items to students at additional times during the regular school day, during after school programs or to donate items to food banks or pantries.
“This will be an awesome thing to see for kids who truly need this,” said cafeteria manager Julie Whyte.
What does it mean for students at Ripley High School? Our school provides breakfast and lunch, these meals can be free if you qualify for free or reduced meal by national guidelines. Ripley High School has approximately 38 percent of students who qualify for free or reduced meals. Our school has actually already been participating in a portion of the Shared Table program by setting out leftover breakfast and lunch items after regular meal service times have ended. The “Shared Table Bill” will allow our school to extend the program to allow students to return unused items to a designated area in the cafeteria, making them available to other students at no cost.
“A lot of food gets wasted, a lot of it is because it is healthy. Fruit and vegetables get thrown away the most,” said Julie Whyte.
According to FamiliesLeadingChange.org, if every school in West Virginia saved just 10 pounds of reusable food each, students in West Virginia could receive 287,000 extra pounds of food each year. That, my friends, could feed a lot of hungry students.
As students at Ripley High School, we need to be watching for more information from Jackson County Child Nutrition Director Dr. Bill Chapman and Whyte about how we can help others receive extra assistance by using the resources we are provided to fill the needs of our fellow Vikings.